Friday, April 06, 2007

Starvation in Africa: Global Warming vs. Man Made Poverty

This morning I saw several headlines about how Global Warming will be particularly devastating on poor countries. Vast starvation will become common place in the years to come because of the "climate changes," these articles argue.

Ironically, I also recently stumbled on an article by the Heritage Foundation that noted that Zimbabwe had 7 million people facing starvation and it is one of the fastest declining countries of the last two decades. This is not proof of climate changes, however, but policy changes. Until the late 1970s the country then known as Rhodesia was the second richest country on the continent (following South Africa) and until the mid 1970s was a country who's economy was comparable to many countries in Western Europe in many ways.

If one studies climate and other issues since the late 70s when it comes to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), there has not been any of the dramatic changes that people would expect to cause the type of deprivation that is rampant. The real problem is the same ones facing most African countries: bad policies. Impoverished African countries suffer from common themes:

* Corrupt governments that put their own personal wealth as their single biggest priority.

* Price controls that forces farmers to charge less for their products than it costs to make them (this is a leading cause of starvation), people will not make food if they can't make money from it. This has been a rampant force behind the "droughts" that Ethiopia has suffered from over the years.

* Punitive tax laws that discourage economic growth.

* Often the total disregard of private property rights, forcing land to be redistributed without cause.

These are just a few of the examples that relate to Africa's poverty, although we will see more news stories pointing to climate change than the real culprit of policy change. This type of government created poverty has been around for decades in Africa. Blaming it on the environment makes these third world dictators victims and allows Liberals to promote their environmental agenda.

The headlines continually warn of global warming, but many in the United States are preparing for a White Easter, including some who live here in Texas (in the Panhandle). There is discussion by very few in the media about "global freezing" (see picture). But, don't expect such an idea to become rampant in the media, it doesn't meet the media or the global warming communities' objectives, which have more to do with government control than the environment.

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